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AIBU to feel I need to do something more here?

(13 Posts)
smeraldina Tue 11-Aug-15 10:49:39

Background. We live in a terrace house on a semi-pedestrianised street. Five houses down there's a couple who own an alsatian. It barks almost continuously during the day (presumably when they are out at work). You can hear this if you are in our front garden, and it's very loud as you walk past their house and the adjoining houses, to the extent that other neighbours and passers by comment. When the dog is taken for walks I've noted it is always muzzled
Today, I walked with my children (6 and 3) to the local shops past their house. Their front door was open. The alsatian shot out of the house and chased us down the road barking loudly. I retreated with the children to our house, shaking, and had some difficulty in unlocking the front door. It stood at our gate, barking - I wasn't sure if it was going to jump round or over.
I found it frightening, as did the children.
The owner swiftly followed 2 minutes later, apologising profusely. She said it was a mistake, that the dog should always be muzzled and on a lead and it wouldn't happen again. She said she had got it back 'with a pig's ear'. I asked her what the dog's behaviour was. She said it liked to 'nip' jogger's ankles but wouldn't hurt children. She then hesitated and said that with a child it might...(I wasn't sure what the silence meant - jump on a child? Lick a child?) and then she started apologising again.
I told her that I understood accidents happen but that I was angry and that it had been very frightening. I also said that she couldn't absolutely promise that it wouldn't happen again, as it might happen again - so I was left concerned about the dog and our safety. What, for example, if she ran out of pig's ears? I wasn't delighted that while the dog was chasing us down the road, she was presumably looking in the fridge for meat to tempt it back. I felt very isolated out there on the road trying to get into my house as their dog got nearer and nearer to our small children.
My background is that I'm not a dog-owner, I think dogs are generally good things, but I can be nervous around them when they jump on me. Personally, my perception/sense is this isn't a happy dog in this environment (evidence is the continuous barking suggesting it is indoors a lot, and its desire to escape this morning). But that's my perception.
Like most of us, I have read the awful stories in newspapers about dogs attacking children, and this has obviously compounded my experience today.
Is there anything more I can or should do apart from drink tea and reassure the children?

brunettebunny Tue 11-Aug-15 11:56:27

Goodness how scary flowers brew to you OP.

I can't offer any advice at all, I'm not a dog owner. But I think you need to get some clarification from the owner on what it 'might' be capable of doing to the children, given her hesitation.

Sorry not to be more helpful, didn't want to read and run.

tabulahrasa Tue 11-Aug-15 12:05:51

What would you do? A dog ran and barked, the owner caught it and apologised...

She's said the dog is usually managed, presumably she'll be more careful about the front door.

The noise is a seperate issue and if it's bothering you then make a complaint about that to the council.

LilacWine7 Tue 11-Aug-15 14:06:39

I'd report the incident to the police, and tell them exactly what she said about it needing to be muzzled at all times, nipping ankles etc. Hopefully they'll send someone round to have a chat with her and stress the importance of keeping it in a secure enclosure/taking it for training. I wonder if it's being badly treated/neglected if it barks all the time? Maybe contact environmental health about the noise?

I hate out of control dogs. I also hate it when people let them bark all day. It doesn't sound like this dog is very happy or being well cared for.

Booboostwo Tue 11-Aug-15 14:31:41

The fact that it is muzzled and her admitting it has 'nipped' people suggest the dog could be dangerous. it has already escaped once which means the owners do not have complete control over the situation. They should, for example, have a system of two doors between the dog and the road so if one is forgotten open the other keeps the dog in. I'd report it to the dog warden who can at the very least keep a record of incidents

smeraldina Tue 11-Aug-15 16:25:05

Thank you all. Really helpful. I think I now remember the dog on the road going for another dog - about a year ago - owner had great difficulty getting it back inside. Apologies for dripfeeding but I was feeling very shaky when I wrote my first email so the virtual flowers and tea were much appreciated - as is the advice. I have called neighbourhood police who will come and talk to me/phone me back about it. I do think an unjumpable gate and fence would be a good precaution at the very least. Thank you all again

BestZebbie Tue 11-Aug-15 16:52:38

Did she say it needs to be muzzled at all times, or just when out in public - Alsatian isn't actually one of the four breeds that have to wear a muzzle in public in the UK, but owners often choose to interpret Dangerous Dogs Act that way as it is a bit vague about exactly what else counts as sufficiently 'dangerous' to have to.

tabulahrasa Tue 11-Aug-15 17:01:25

Unless it's subject to a dog control order already, and they're not that common, there's no obligation to have a GSD muzzled...so she more likely meant that it usually is muzzled when out.

Busybumblebees Tue 11-Aug-15 17:58:48

Glad you telephoned the police . That dog sounds dangerous to me and doesn't appear under control

Didn't the dangerous dog act change a while ago to include all breeds

BecksTroll Tue 11-Aug-15 18:04:22

Suggest you repost on The Dogs house, they bave a wealth of knowledge on there.

LilacWine7 Tue 11-Aug-15 19:05:17

Well done for contacting the police! It does sound like a dangerous dog, one that is likely to escape again and chase/nip other people if something isn't done about it. Glad you took action!

smeraldina Wed 12-Aug-15 21:45:31

I'm still waiting for the police to contact me back. Meantime, an elderly neighbour has been round to tell me that she was chased by the dog at the same time and was also terrified (I think it went for her first, and she shouted at it, which is why I had time to get back to our door, before it went towards us). I have written the neighbour a letter citing the Dangerous Dogs act - I think she's gone away. In delivering it, I have spoken to another neighbour who tells me that they believe the dog attacked another dog and a jogger nearby, hence the muzzle.

Kafri Wed 12-Aug-15 22:10:23

There isn't a lot the police can do to be honest. They may knock on her door and have a chat but that's about all. They may have more luck if the person the dog nipped at reported it but otherwise, as far as the law is concerned, there's nothing to answer to.

My own personal opinion is that there should be more can be done. People should not need to be running away from a barking dog, let alone one that has history and as a result is usually muzzled.

I wonder, in light of how little the police can do, if you'd be better appealing to the owner to do more to control the dog - higher fence as someone mentioned etc

I feel for you, I'm not sure if want the dog as a neighbour!!

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